Employee Absenteeism Management

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Mar 2018 11:10:08



SAMANTHA Johnson has been working as the Team Lead for the past three years at Globesoft Software Inc. Globesoft Software Inc. is a leading IT giant. Recently, Samantha got promoted to the post of a Project Manager. In her new position Samantha has to manage a team of seven members including two senior and junior developers & testers. Now that Samantha is the Project Manager, she is responsible for the successful and timely completion of every new software development project that comes to Globesoft. Sigma Telecommunications, a leading Telecom Service Company recently came to Globesoft to have a new SQL-based database software to be developed for them. Samantha carefully reviewed and analysed Sigma’s requirements and came up with a project plan. Samantha also holds a meeting with the client and gets the go-ahead for starting the project and developing the software after the client’s approval of the Project Plan. The client was in a hurry to get the software. Samantha tried to negotiate upon broader deadlines but due to client’s pressure, she ultimately agreed to finish the project as per their requested deadlines. When the project was under progress, Samantha realised that the deadlines that she had agreed upon are nearly impossible to meet. This was because every week, one or two of the developers are on leave. Samantha and her team were not able to complete the project as was promised to the client. Upon not completing the project on time, Globesoft had to pay some penalty for late delivery. Hence, due to the penalty, Globesoft had to incur huge loss in the project. This happened because Samantha had not reckoned the absenteeism of her team members during the duration of the project. As, a result the number of hours fell short for completing the software development on time.  

Why do you think Samantha failed in her first task as a Project Manager? Why did Globesoft have to incur a huge loss in this Project?

Yes, all this happened because Samantha had not initially thought about the problem of employee absenteeism seriously. As a result, she promised certain impossible timelines to the client. If Samantha had carefully looked at her team behavior, then she would have realised the importance of the problem of employee absenteeism and could have tried to solve it. Thus, you can see that ‘Employee Absenteeism Management’ is a must for anyone to succeed when dealing with employees in an organisation.  

Tips to Manage Absence in the Workplace

To tackle absenteeism effectively, you must establish a solution that lets you detect and address the situation early to avoid short-term absenteeism becoming a long term issue.


  1. Write Attendance Policy

Formalise the organisation’s expectations for attendance by writing an attendance policy. Include in the policy the definition for being tardy and what constitutes excessive tardiness or absenteeism. For example: Tardiness is defined as an employee who arrives to work 30 minutes late. Excessive absenteeism is defined as an employee who has 6 or more unplanned absences in a six month period of time. This policy then becomes a measure for good performance.

  1. Set Clear Attendance Expectations

Share the attendance policy with employees as part of the new employee orientation process and discuss what your expectations are for attendance. Also discuss how to notify the organisation, and who the employee should contact, when they will not be coming to work. Employees should understand how often is acceptable to have an unplanned absence, how many times of missing work crosses a performance line and what the consequences will be for excessive absenteeism. For example: The employee performance appraisal form should have a dimension for attendance.


  1. Reward Good Attendance

Some organisations reward good attendance by giving employees a bonus for having no unplanned absences in a 12 month period. And, when attendance is incorporated into the annual performance appraisal process, employees can also see rewards in the way of merit increases. Another tactic is to provide adequate paid time off so employees have the option of planning for absences by using a predetermined bank of hours.


  1. Provide Employee Support

Sometimes employees are simply experiencing a challenging time of life. This is when providing support through EAP programs, can help them deal with personal issues that might be affecting their attendance. This kind of support can not only help employees through a difficult time, but it also makes them feel valued and that their employer cares about them. A major determining factor of employee engagement. In order for an organisation to be successful, it needs a committed and engaged workforce. One way to foster commitment and engagement is clear expectations, empathetic employee support and a structured process to reward good performance.

(The author is Soft-Skill Trainer and can be reached at [email protected]